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Welcome to AWC’s online library of Legislative Bulletin and CityVoice news articles and other updates.

Published on Friday, February 3, 2017

Education funding bills start to frame the budget debate, which will reveal the fate of city shared revenues and key programs

Last week on a 25-24 party line vote, the Senate debated and passed a plan to fund K-12 education. This week the House considers and may vote on their own bill to fund K-12 education. While their approaches differ, the good news is it is evident all sides are serious about finding a solution. This comes after years of both houses trying to figure out a way to respond to this need and the Court’s demands.

AWC applauds and welcomes movement towards a solution. Quality educational opportunities are key to the continued vitality of our communities, and how they are funded will directly affect what revenues and programs will be available, or not, to support investments and services needed to keep cities and towns vibrant.

The Senate’s education-funding plan is characterized by Ways and Means Chair, Sen. John Braun, as “sweeping, straightforward and sensible.” Funds needed to support it come from changes in the state’s property tax levies that replace local school levies. This results in overall decreases in many areas and increases in others. Among other objections, Senate opponents voiced concern with these shifts and whether sufficient overall funding is provided. Both the Governor’s and House Democrat’s plans rely on larger funding and new revenues other than property tax changes to cover costs.

How any of these approaches affect forthcoming general fund and capital budget proposals have not yet been revealed. As we approach the 5th week of a not-less-than 15-week session, these education proposals provide a key puzzle piece as budget writers soon begin to reveal how all of the other state services and programs will fare.

AWC continues to work with legislators on key policy bills and share information about why it continues to be vital that a significant portion of revenues generated in our communities be available to support and invest in keeping cities strong. Your voices from home echoing these messages are as important now as ever.

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